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Observations placeholder

Guzzling and gorging via green ointment



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Hans Peter Duerr - Dreamtime

The recipes for witches’ salves , which have become so famous in recent years, are not taken from court records. They derive from the writings and tracts of men who were interested in magia licita i.e. natural magic.

They were physicians, astrologers and scientists who went to great lengths to avoid the suggestion that they were trafficking with ‘the Great Adversary’. So they usually kept everyone in the dark as to their sources.

Johannes Weier, for instance, a student of Agrippa of Nettesheim and personal physician to the Duke of Julich-Cleve-Berg, names 'fat ….. wild celery juice, clinging birchwort, tormentilla, nightshade and soot’.

The philosopher Francis Bacon says ‘The ointment that witches use is reported to be made of fat ……. wolf-bane, cinquefoil mingled with the meal of fine wheat. But I suppose that the soporiferous medicine are likest to do it; which are henbane, hemlock, mandrake, moonshade, tobacco, opium, saffron, poplar leaves etc’.

Andres Laguna in 1570 speaks of a certain green ointment, such as poplar salve with which the witches anointed themselves………..

A witches salve of Krain, which made women ‘imagine that they flew’ and ‘caused them to dream of dancing, guzzling, gorging themselves, music and other similar matters’ contained cinquefoil, belladonna, waterparsnip, meadow salsify and wild celery according to Johannes Vlavasor, as well as the extremely poisonous aconite…

According to de Nynaud the witches prepared oils or ointments from the ingredients mentioned and 

"they rubbed their entire body with them, in order for their pores to open up and to relax… thus it is no wonder that after having rubbed all parts of the body until it flushed and using such an ointment it should appear to them…. that they were carried up into the air, so the ointment penetrated them and was carried to the brain".

There is also mention of elderberry, henbane, vervain, fern, hemp (cannabis sativa), nightshade, poppy seed (papaver somniferum), mint, rue, tansy, greater celandine and maidenhair.

The physician Jean de Nynauld enumerates the following – belladonna root, nightshade, …., aconite, celery, soporific nightshade, soot, cinquefoil, calamus, parsley, poplar leaves, opium, henbane, hemlock, … which make it possible to see the shades of hell, that is, evil spirits in the same manner as on the other hand, the anacrustaceans call forth the images of the holy angels

The source of the experience

Magician other

Concepts, symbols and science items


Spirit being



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps